A Day In Paris

There's nothing more relaxing than spending a day wandering the city, window shopping and enjoying a delicious lunch outdoors. For the first bit of my stay in Paris, I was on my own and I wasn't quite sure how I'd manage as I'd never traveled solo before. Sure enough, my favourite pastimes of shopping, eating and sightseeing filled my days just fine! One particular sunny day, I decided to venture to the famed Saint Germain district, and had the most perfect afternoon (in the eyes of a decorator, that is).

By Denis Truchi

First Stop: Lunch at Les Deux Magots
This busy cafe is located on Saint-Germain-des-Pres and has been serving casual and delicious french cuisine since 1813. Too beautiful to sit inside, I quietly took it all in while enjoying a croque monsieur and cappuccino.

I must admit, this was not the most exciting item on the menu, but I remembered Ina Garten's fantastic description from her cookbook Barefoot in Paris and couldn't resist trying a truly french croque monsieur myself. Now that I'm home, I'll happily try her recipe when the craving hits me again. [Recipe from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris]

Ina's Croque Monsieur


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Post-Lunch Wandering: Nobilis
Strolling down a narrow street nearby Les Deux Magots, grinning with happiness I'm sure, I came across this beautiful table setting in a store window. I loved the pea green and royal blue combination - unusual, yet it works perfectly!

As I walked around inside, Nobilis' incredible textile and wallpaper selection overwhelmed me with ideas and I almost forgot to take a few photos. Unfortunately, of the 500+ I have from the trip, only three are from this great shop.

One of the things I loved about these cushions was their simplicity. They've tossed gaudy trims out the window and showcased the embroidered, quilted and woven qualities of the fabric. A keeper in my books!

While these photos don't do them justice, their website is fantastic and so inspiring! Be sure to visit!

Pretty Little Things: Fragonard
Underneath a portion of the Louvre, the Carrousel du Louvre houses the most beautiful French perfume store, Fragonard. After dinner, I discovered this shop and proceeded to visit approx. 4 times in 11 days....yes, I loved it. I first bought a light rose ring, then returned to purchase a delicate floral perfume, and then dragged Cait to accompany me for a few more souvenirs.

First opened in 1926, Fragonard has boutiques across France and even has a perfume museum in the heart of Paris. Read more about the story of Fragonard and perfume making here.

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